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N A T I O N

Pratibha’s Nomination
HC declines early hearing of PIL

New Delhi, July 9
The Delhi High Court today declined an early hearing of a petition challenging the nomination of UPA-left alliance candidate Pratibha Patil for presidential election, saying that it could only be entertained as an election petition after the election process is over. Justice Bader Durez Ahmed before whom the public interest petition, filed by a private organisation “Indraprastha People” came up, fixed further hearing on it for July 24. The presidential election is scheduled for July 19.

Vice-presidential poll
EC issues notification

New Delhi, July 9
The Election Commission today formally set in motion the process to elect the successor to Bhairon Singh Shekhawat by issuing notification for the vice-presidential polls, to be held on August 10. With this, the filing of nominations for the polls began today and will go till July 23. The scrutiny of nominations will take place on July 24 and the last date for the withdrawal of candidature will be July 26.


EARLIER STORIES




CM’s kin, rivals sort it out on streets
Hyderabad, July 9
A long-standing rivalry between Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhar Reddy and his bete noire in the ruling Congress and senior legislator P. Janardhan Reddy spilled onto the streets as their close family members indulged in a street brawl, leading to arrests and violence here today.

CBI seeks info on Mulayam’s assets in 1977
Lucknow, July 9
The CBI, which is investigating the disproportionate assets case against former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, has sought information about his assets from the state Assembly secretariat.

Crop Estimation
Experts for use of space tech

New Delhi, July 9
Farm scientists have come out with new technological tools, including space technology and optimum use of information technology for crop estimation.

22-cr aircraft stands idle 
Dehra Dun, July 9
Rs 22 crore 18-seater state aircraft is proving to be white elephant for the Uttarakhand government as it is standing idle in Delhi for the past six months since its purchase from the US. As such, Governor Sudarshan Aggarwal has in a letter to the Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri raised objection on its usefulness.

SC orders security for CAT members 
New Delhi, July 9
Taking cognisance of a letter sent to Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan, highlighting the attack at the residence of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) member Sadhna Srivastava in Patna in May, the Supreme Court today directed the Bihar government to provide security to all members of the tribunal.

Gujjar Stir
SC no to entertain plea against BJP

New Delhi, July 9
The Supreme Court today declined to entertain a petition seeking to probe the role of the BJP in the recent agitation by Gujjars, particularly in Rajasthan.

Flood alert in 80 Gujarat villages
Ahmedabad, July 9
A flood alert has been sounded across 80 villages located on banks of rivers flowing through Bharuch, Vadodara and Ahmedabad districts in Gujarat, official sources said this morning.


A girl wades to her village after collecting drinking water from a remote source at Ghatal, in Midnapore, some 100 km south of Kolkata on Monday.— AFP photo
A girl wades to her village after collecting drinking water from a remote source at Ghatal, in Midnapore, some 100 km south of Kolkata

Editors Guild flays threat to Gopalakrishnan
Chandigarh, July 9
The Editors Guild of India has condemned the threats issued to K. Gopalakrishnan, Editor, Mathrubhumi Malayalam daily, allegedly by leaders of the CPM and its frontal organisations in Kerala.

Rape in ICU
Ward boys sent to jail

Meerut, July 9
Three ward boys of a private nursing home here, accused of raping a 17-year-old school girl in its intensive care unit after sedating her, were today sent to jail even as the hospital premises were sealed by the authorities.

Cambodian PM returns without talks
New Delhi, July 9
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen was here for less than 24 hours and left for home this morning without talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.

DRDO will build Barak version  for IAF
Mumbai, July 9
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will shortly sign a deal with Israel Aerospace Industries to develop a long-range version of the Barak missile system for the Indian Air Force.

Chandra Shekhar cremated
New Delhi, July 9
The mortal remains of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar were today consigned to flames on the banks of the Yamuna, near Rajghat, with full state honours.
Pall bearers from the services carry the mortal remains of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar for cremation at Ekta Sthal in New Delhi on Monday. — Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal
Pall bearers from the services carry the mortal remains of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar for cremation at Ekta Sthal in New Delhi


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Pratibha’s Nomination
HC declines early hearing of PIL

New Delhi, July 9
The Delhi High Court today declined an early hearing of a petition challenging the nomination of UPA-left alliance candidate Pratibha Patil for presidential election, saying that it could only be entertained as an election petition after the election process is over.

Justice Bader Durez Ahmed before whom the public interest petition, filed by a private organisation “Indraprastha People” came up, fixed further hearing on it for July 24. The presidential election is scheduled for July 19.

The petitioner had sought a direction to the Election Commission to cancel Patil’s nomination alleging that she was holding an “office of profit” in the capacity of a managing trustee of the Sharam Sadhana Bombay Trust.

Since the Trust was controlled by the Maharashtra Government, it came in the ambit of the “office of profit” laws, rendering a candidate disqualified to contest any election to a public office, the PIL claimed.

The petitioner said that the Trust was running several schools and colleges in Maharashtra and Patil as its managing trustee, was obtaining pecuniary gains from it, making her “ineligible” to contest the election to the highest office of the country.

Virtually treating the PIL as election petition, which could only be considered after the election was over, the Court was not convinced that it was an opportune time to look into the matter. — TNS

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Vice-presidential poll
EC issues notification
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
The Election Commission today formally set in motion the process to elect the successor to Bhairon Singh Shekhawat by issuing notification for the vice-presidential polls, to be held on August 10.

With this, the filing of nominations for the polls began today and will go till July 23. The scrutiny of nominations will take place on July 24 and the last date for the withdrawal of candidature will be July 26. Counting of votes will also take place on August 10 evening, the same day of polling.

The term of Shekhawat, who is contesting the presidential polls as an “Independent” backed by the NDA, ends on August 18.

The polls are being held close on the heels of the presidential polls on July 19 where Shekhawat is locked up in a straight fight with UPA-Left nominee Pratibha Patil.

In the vice-presidential polls, the Left parties have made it clear that the candidate should be non-Congress as the presidential nominee and the vice-presidential candidate should not be from the same party.

Indications are that the Left parties are keen to have their own candidate in the post as the UPA-Left have a clear majority in the Electoral College.

The Vice-President is elected by an Electoral College comprising members of both Houses of Parliament, including the nominated members. The members cast their votes on ballot paper according to a system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.

The Electoral College that will elect the next Vice-President will comprise 790 members with 545 members from the Lok Sabha and 245 members from the Rajya Sabha.

The commission said those who filed the nomination papers must have at least 20 electors as proposers and 20 electors as seconders. An elector can subscribe to only one nomination paper of a candidate as either a proposer or seconder. The security deposit for the election is Rs 15,000, which has to be submitted along with the nomination paper.

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CM’s kin, rivals sort it out on streets
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, July 9
A long-standing rivalry between Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhar Reddy and his bete noire in the ruling Congress and senior legislator P. Janardhan Reddy spilled onto the streets as their close family members indulged in a street brawl, leading to arrests and violence here today.

What began as a case of petty road rage soon snowballed into a full-blown political war between the two families, causing a major embarrassment to the ruling party.

The Chief Minister’s younger brother Y. S. Ravinder Reddy was injured in the scuffle with Janardhan Reddy’s son P. Vishnuvardhan Reddy and son-in-law Santosh Reddy in a narrow lane in the posh Jubilee Hills area.

The trouble started when Ravinder Reddy and his son Sumadhur Reddy, who were returning home in their car last night, found Vishnuvardhan Reddy’s car blocking their way. Soon, heated exchange of words followed.

It took a serious turn when their followers entered the scene and came to blows.

The Chief Minister’s brother and nephew, who got themselves admitted to Apollo Hospitals, alleged that they were beaten up by Vishnuvardhan’s supporters.

Based on their complaint, the police registered non-bailable cases of attempt to murder, rioting, criminal intimidation, mischief and causing damage against Vishnuvardhan and Santosh and produced them before a local court, which remanded them in judicial custody till July 20.

The two were then taken to the Chanchalguda jail even as PJR, as Janardhan Reddy is known in political circles, and his supporters staged protest in front of the Jubilee Hills police station, demanding the arrest of Chief Minister’s brother and nephew.

Following this, the police booked a case of rioting against Chief Minister’s kin, based on a complaint filed by PJR’s wife, but did not arrest them.

The Chief Minister is away to Maldives to celebrate his 58th birthday with his family.

Alleging that the police were favouring the Chief Minister’s family, PJR, a bitter critic of the Rajasekhar Reddy government, said a false case had been slapped on his son and son-in-law, only to harass him and tarnish his image.

He demanded that a case under Section 307 (attempt to murder) be registered against Ravinder Reddy.

Tension prevailed in the area as infuriated supporters of PJR, who represents the Khairtabad constituency in the city, went berserk and damaged four buses. 

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CBI seeks info on Mulayam’s assets in 1977

Lucknow, July 9
The CBI, which is investigating the disproportionate assets case against former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, has sought information about his assets from the state Assembly secretariat.

The CBI has written a letter to the Assembly's principal secretary R.P. Pandey seeking a certified copy of the declaration made by Yadav in 1977 when he was a minister in the then Janata Party government, sources said today.

The CBI's letter was received at the secretariat on Saturday.

According to the 1977 declaration, Yadav owned 2.53 acres of land and a house in his native village of Saifai in Etawah besides a little over Rs 13,000 in cash in two bank accounts in Mainpuri and Lucknow, sources said.

The Samajwadi Party chief also owned a jeep valued at Rs 10,000, a scooter and three LIC policies on which he was paying an yearly premium of about Rs 1,000, sources said quoting from the 1977 declaration of assets. — PTI

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Crop Estimation
Experts for use of space tech
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
Farm scientists have come out with new technological tools, including space technology and optimum use of information technology for crop estimation.

The two-day National Workshop on Improvement of Agricultural Statistics discussed the present crop estimation methodology infrastructure. It has come out with a set of recommendations for improving farm statistics.

Precise and timely estimates of crop yield, area, production and other farm data will help in taking correct policy decision and monitoring progress of various programmes and schemes, an official press note said today.

To conduct and complete the agriculture census in time, statistical legislation was recommended on the lines of population census and industrial statistics. It was felt that statutory powers were needed for the agricultural census commissioner of India and state agricultural census commissioners.

For decentralised planning to agricultural growth, district-level data is considered important. However, long time lag was noticed in its receipt and compilation. It was agreed that efforts would be made for online transfer of the district-level data to the states and from the state headquarters to the centre on production, prices.

During the conference, state representatives highlighted that they were closely monitoring collection of area and yield estimates and preparing production estimates based on results of crop cutting experiments.

However, in the recent past, for implementation of the national agricultural insurance scheme, the number of crop cutting experiments in various states has increased manifold, which they are finding it difficult to cope owing to the limited staff strength. Since the harvest gets completed within about three weeks, the crop cutting experiments are also to be completed within this critical period.

Use of space technology will be of great help in capturing and validating field data.

Considering that no proper database is available on horticultural crops and also because a new thrust is being given to this sector, it was decided that a system would be put in place to capture horticulture data exhaustively, it added.

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22-cr aircraft stands idle 
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, July 9
Rs 22 crore 18-seater state aircraft is proving to be white elephant for the Uttarakhand government as it is standing idle in Delhi for the past six months since its purchase from the US. As such, Governor Sudarshan Aggarwal has in a letter to the Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri raised objection on its usefulness.

It was purchased during the tenure of the previous Congress government after the concerned state bureaucrats globe trotted to find a suitable aircraft to fly VIPs of the state. But its usefulness came under scanner after the Governor's letter as apart from the time taken by flying it from the US, the aircraft has flown for only 100 hours since it purchase. This included a sole trip by former Chief Minister N.D. Tiwari from Dehra Dun to Lucknow.

At present, more than Rs 5 lakh per month being spent from the state coffer on it are being wasted. The state government is paying around Rs 3.50 lakh as salaries to two wing commanders hired from the Indian Air Force on deputation to fly it. Besides, more than a lakh rupees are being paid to a private company for its maintenance

Even as the officials of civil aviation were unwilling to come on record, sources confirmed to The Tribune that the Governor felt that the aircraft lying idle was not serving any useful purpose. As of now, it cannot land anywhere in the state except Jollygrant airport near Dehra Dun. This strip cannot be used since expansion work on it would take at least another year to complete. In the situation, the government would do well to purchase few choppers instead which can land in different parts of the hill state, added sources. 

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SC orders security for CAT members 
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 9
Taking cognisance of a letter sent to Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan, highlighting the attack at the residence of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) member Sadhna Srivastava in Patna in May, the Supreme Court today directed the Bihar government to provide security to all members of the tribunal.

Issuing notices to the Centre and the Bihar government after registering a public interest litigation (PIL) under the head “Incident relating to gangsters”, a Bench, headed by the CJI, took serious view of the attack by gangsters at Srivastava’s official residence, resulting in the death of one of her guests Suresh Mehta.

Mehta, a senior executive with the Tata Motors, was thrown out of a window from the eighth-floor residence of Srivastava by two gangsters who had forced their entry into the house. The letter to the CJI was sent by the CAT Bar Association, stating that if the house of an important functionary like the administrative tribunal was not safe, what would be the fate of the common man.

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Gujjar Stir
SC no to entertain plea against BJP

New Delhi, July 9
The Supreme Court today declined to entertain a petition seeking to probe the role of the BJP in the recent agitation by Gujjars, particularly in Rajasthan. A Bench of Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan and justice R. V. Raveendran, while dismissing the petition filed by secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Gurjar Vikas Sangathan Devendra Singh Patel on the issue, however, gave liberty to the petitioner to bring to the notice of a court-appointed committee any instance of this nature.

Patel has alleged that the agitation was a result of “infighting” between BJP leader Jaswant Singh and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje. 

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Flood alert in 80 Gujarat villages

Ahmedabad, July 9
A flood alert has been sounded across 80 villages located on banks of rivers flowing through Bharuch, Vadodara and Ahmedabad districts in Gujarat, official sources said this morning.

About 72 villages in Bharuch and Vadodara districts, located downstream near the banks of the Narmada have been alerted as water levels are expected to rise due to heavy inflow of water from Madhya Pradesh.

“The Sardar Sarovar dam built on the Narmada has once again started overflowing after the Omkar-sent 1.5 lakh cusecs of water has been overflowing from the dam. Due to this we have already sounded an alert in 72 villages located downstream,” he added.

Over 44,000 people were evacuated from Bharuch alone when the Sardar Sarovar dam overflowed in the heavy rains last week.

Meanwhile, a similar flood-alert has also been sounded in about 18 villages located on the banks of rivers Vatrak and Mazum in Ahmedabad district.

“Due to heavy rainfall in the catchment areas of Vatrak and Mazum rivers located in Mehsana and Sabarkantha districts, an alert has been sounded in 18-odd villages located downstream these rivers,” district collector of Ahmedabad D Thara said.

“We are expecting about two lakh cusecs of water to flow in these rivers by this evening,” she said, adding the villagers would be evacuated if needed.

Meanwhile, according to a report from Vadodara, villages of the three talukas of the district - Karjan, Savli, Padra - located on the banks of the Mahisagar have also been alerted after water was released from the Kadana dam (built on the river in Panchmahal district).

Water from Kadana has been released due to heavy rains in the river’s catchment areas in Rajasthan, officials said. Similarly there is a heavy inflow of 5.23 lakh cusecs into the Ukai dam located on Tapi in Surat district of South Gujarat.

According to sources, the present outflow from the dam is about 2.10 lakh cusecs and the water level in Ukai stands at 316.18 meters which is well below the danger mark of 345 meters. — PTI 

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Editors Guild flays threat to Gopalakrishnan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The Editors Guild of India has condemned the threats issued to K. Gopalakrishnan, Editor, Mathrubhumi Malayalam daily, allegedly by leaders of the CPM and its frontal organisations in Kerala.

Demanding an immediate end to the pressurising tactics against Mathrubhumi, the guild has also called upon the Kerala government to ensure full protection to the Editor and journalists of the paper.

It has sought necessary legal action against those adopting "such reprehensible tactics against the media".

In a press statement today, guild president Alok Mehta and secretary-general K.S. Sachidananda said anonymous posters had also appeared in Kerala warning that the Editor will be framed with lewd charges. "The attack on the Editor appears to be a crude and irresponsible reaction to the journalistic work of the newspaper," they said.

Asserting that the guild had earlier also expressed its distress over the atmosphere of intolerance bred by the ruling party against the media in Kerala, they added that "threats of retaliation and punishment issued allegedly by CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan to the newspaper are a direct affront to the freedom of the Press. But the guild is confident the media and civil society in Kerala will take steps to safeguard the freedom of the Press in the state". 

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Rape in ICU
Ward boys sent to jail

Meerut, July 9
Three ward boys of a private nursing home here, accused of raping a 17-year-old school girl in its intensive care unit after sedating her, were today sent to jail even as the hospital premises were sealed by the authorities.

Manoj, Avtar and Deputy Singh were produced before the chief judicial magistrate who remanded them in judicial custody for 14 days.
The girl, who is the daughter of a trader and studying in a school in Kankarkhera, was admitted to M Prakash Nursing Home with respiratory problems last week and kept in its ICU, police officials said.

Late on Friday, she was given a sedative injection and two of the wards boys allegedly raped her while she was unconscious after tying her hands and legs, they said. — PTI 

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Cambodian PM returns without talks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen was here for less than 24 hours and left for home this morning without talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.

Apparently, this was because the Cambodians were not interested in forgoing the ceremonial parts of the official visit which the Indian government could not have provided because of death of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar.

India is keen on enlarging its footprints in its eastern neighbourhood for strategic and economic reasons. The Cambodian Prime Minister’s talks with Manmohan Singh, originally scheduled for this evening, would have come just about a couple of days after a successful visit of the Vietnamese Prime Minister to New Delhi.

Senior officials of the ministry of external affairs met with the Cambodian officials to convey the details of the programme in the light of the demise of Chandra Shekhar and the declaration of state mourning for a period of 7 days.

Later, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee met with deputy prime minister and foreign minister Hor Namhong, who was part of the high-level Cambodian delegation that arrived here yesterday.

Mukherjee explained to Namhong that the Indian side was ready to go ahead with the official programme except for the ceremonial part of the programme.

It was elaborated that this could not take place owing to the regulations that governed Government of India’s activities during a period of state mourning. According to the MEA, it was clarified to the Cambodian side that official discussions, calls and meetings could take place as originally scheduled.

The Cambodian side expressed their deep condolences and conveyed that as the funeral date coincided with the main engagement day, it would not be proper on their part to continue with the visit. The Cambodian foreign minister reiterated to Mukherjee that they would return to Delhi as soon as mutually convenient dates are agreed upon.

The Cambodian foreign minister specifically emphasised that Cambodia-India bilateral relations were very close and cordial. He assured that the traditionally friendly relations between the two countries would continue to be strengthened further.

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DRDO will build Barak version  for IAF
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 9
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will shortly sign a deal with Israel Aerospace Industries to develop a long-range version of the Barak missile system for the Indian Air Force.

Both organisations have developed and are manufacturing the Barak defence system for the Indian Navy as part of a five-year contract worth $ 4, 80 million.

The proposed surface-to-air system would have a range of 1, 50 km and would be a replacement to the Soviet-era Pechora missile system currently deployed by the Indian defence forces.

As per the deal under negotiations by the two organisations, the technology and the production capacities developed by the DRDO and the IAI would be transferred to the Indian partner within a specified time-frame. According to reports in defence media, both partners would invest $ 3, 00 million in the venture which would equip nine squadrons of the IAF.

IAI officials had earlier told the media that the Barak air defence system under development would be far superior to the Patriot missile systems deployed by the United States of America.

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Chandra Shekhar cremated
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
The mortal remains of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar were today consigned to flames on the banks of the Yamuna, near Rajghat, with full state honours.

The cremation was attended by the nation’s top political leadership besides hundreds of admirers and supporters of the late leader.

Amid chanting of hymns and a gun salute, Chandra Shekhar’s sons Pankaj and Neeraj went around the funeral pyre of their father before lighting it.

Streams of people from different parts of the country, including those from his hometown Ibrahimpatti in Uttar Pradesh’s eastern  district of Ballia, had come to the Capital to pay tributes to him.

His body was wrapped in the Tricolour and placed on a specially erected platform.

Vice-president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Ministers H. D. Deve Gowda and I. K. Gujral, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, BJP leader L. K. Advani, former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and union ministers A. K. Antony, Sharad Pawar, Shivraj Patil and  Priyaranjan Dasmunsi  laid wreaths on  the body.

The last rites were performed at Ekta Sthal, near the samadhis of former Presidents.

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